In Defense of Multiple Choice

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The value of multiple-choice in education has been a topic of debate since it’s invention in the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, the US army constructed this type of assessment as a means for determining intelligence for recruitment (Ramirez, 2013).  Provided this social validity, the test quickly spread to education and industry sectors, such as the SAT (Ramirez, 2013).  At this time, education mocked the industrial “factory model”, based on standardization and strict learning schedules.

In recent years, however, there has been a shift in the education model, contingent upon active and personal participation in our globalized society. Due to the invention of the world-wide-web and new technologies that utilize it, individuals have gained autonomy, instant communication, access to a plethora of information at their fingertips, and the ability to track all types of information and data. As a result, there has been a drive towards implementing constructivist practices within the classroom, where students gain greater agency to create their own knowledge when learning and working with peers.

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How to Create Valuable Multiple Choice Questions

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Multiple-choice questions can be a useful teaching and assessment tool, whether aiding class discussions or testing content on an exam. Teachers have been using this method of assessment for decades, whether verbally, on paper, or more recently through technology such as the real-time assessment system, Socrative.

However, writing multiple-choice questions that test the anticipated content with a certain level of difficulty and understanding for the student is often more challenging than it may seem. It is important to understand the types of questions that exist, reliable rules for writing them, and how to use them to understand learning behavior.

Types of Questions

1. Recall information: Test understanding of factual knowledge, such as definition or association.

Example: What is a verb?

2. Understand concepts: Draw upon facts in context of what is being learned.

Example: Which of the words in the following sentence is a verb: Susan walked to the grocery store.

3. Apply knowledge: Give students a scenario, often linked to a real-world outcome.

Example: Sam is writing about his ski vacation with his family. This vacation happened one month ago. Which is a correct form of the word “to ski” for his paragraph?

4. Analyze Information: Students reflect on patterns and relationships within the content.

Example: Consider the verbs in the following sentence: Mike ran to the store. 

In what form would you use the word “to call” in order to represent that Mike made a call before he went to the store.

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Week 1 – A Quick Activity to Help Students Learn about their School

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There’s always something new at the start of the school year, class rules, whether it is a new freshman class, a new administrator, or a classroom change. Both teachers and students need to get familiar with these changes fast.

In Mr. Roberts’ homeroom, Socrative quizzes with images do the trick.

Who’s who? What’s what?:

Make a Multiple Choice Socrative quiz consisting of questions such as:

1. Who is (insert picture of new staff member or school leader)?

2. Where is the new science room?

3. Who do you ask about your technology questions?

4. Where do you find the lunch schedule?

5. Who is (insert a picture of the maintenance person)?

6. What is our policy on X?

Mr. Roberts runs the activity as a Teacher Paced quiz so he can monitor the student responses, project them for all, and correct any misconceptions. Don’t be surprised if the activity triggers lots of questions!


How do you creatively use Socrative?

Just in Time! – Thinking Routines Templates

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Choose-Your-Own-AdventureWhile putting the “final touches” on a lesson plan, I was struck with a decision about the class ending activity. I know students will have questions and concerns about the readings and projects.  I wanted the freedom and flexibility to choose the culminating activity in the moment.  What could I do?
I imported all 3 thinking routines into Socrative, and then allowed myself to choose the culminating activity in the moment.  It was a very freeing feeling to know I was prepared for a great class, and still able to be responsive to the day’s flow and demands.

 

Here are the 3 Thinking Routines – Import the templates using the SOC #s or create your own. (Click here to learn how to import activities)

Thinking Routine: I Used to Think…, But Now I think...   SOC-17616

Purpose: “This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. It can be useful in consolidating new learning as students identify their new understandings, opinions, and beliefs. By examining and explaining how and why their thinking has changed, students are developing their reasoning abilities and recognizing cause and effect relationships.”  (Project Zero)

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See, Think, Wonder – Making Thinking Visible

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Harvard’s Project Zero has created learning routines based on research, helping teachers garner a more thorough thinking process from students. See, Think, Wonder, is one such routine that engages students in visual multimedia such as pictures or videos.

Design an Image based quiz focussing on these 3 questions:

1. What do you see?

2. What do you think about that?

3. What does it make you wonder?

Students draw from their own unique perspective, inviting curiosity from their peers. Depending on the teaching need, a single student may answer all three questions at once in a Student Paced Quiz, or the class may work together through the Teacher Paced Quiz option to answer and discuss questions one at a time.

Learn more at www.visiblethinkingpz.org

 

Space Race vs. Other Classrooms and Schools!

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Space Race 9 Rockets

We all know the fun of having a Space Race in your own class.

How about:

A Space Race against other classes within your school?

A Space Race against classes in the US?

A Space race against classes all over the world?

 

It’s quite simple! Here’s how:

1. Identify your competition and pick a date and time for the showdown!

Tip: Find other teachers within your PLN to Race

2. Co-construct an assessment and create it in Socrative

Tip: Enable sharing so each teacher can also import a copy using a SOC-#

3. Choose a screen sharing site

Tip: Google Hangouts and Skype work great!

4. Login in to your Socrative Account and the screen sharing site

5. Share your Socrative room number and screen sharing link

Tip: All classrooms can now view your Socrative screen in their own schools!

6. Have classrooms login in with 1 or more devices

Tip: 20 possible rockets across all classrooms

7. Select Space Race, Quiz and the number of teams

Tip: Choose a time limit if you want the furthest to win and not the fastest

8. GO!!!!!!!!! 

Tip: Take a final screenshot, Email the report to your colleagues and/or project it live on the screen!

Create Quiz Updates!

We’ve gathered a lot of feedback and made a number of enhancements to the Create/Edit quiz experience.

Enjoy!

Create and Edit Quiz Enhancements

  • Duplicate a Quiz Question
  • Save and Edit one question at a time
  • Create/Edit question mode and Saved question mode have new designs
  • Thumbs up notification on quiz saving when leaving create/edit mode
  • Improved stability of question formatting toolbar
  • Ability to turn on/off question formatting
  • Tab between content fields within a question
  • Reduced height of default text fields
  • Verification pop up after selecting Delete question
  • Add Image functionality moved to top of question field
  • Improved responsive design for small screens and mobile

2 MODES

1. Save Mode

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2. Edit mode

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4 Fun and Reflective Activities to End the School Year!

imagesThe end of the school year is filled with mixed emotions: excitement for the impending freedom of summer, and sadness about the culmination of a great class and a great year. Use these final school days to connect with your classroom in fresh ways, and reflect on the school year behind you in order to better prepare for the next one.

Fun end of the year activities can enhance the bond within your class, as well as energize and refocus your students during their last days in the classroom.

ACTIVITY: Use Socrative’s True/False feature to see how many of your students will be doing certain summer activities. Show them the results and they can discuss or elaborate on their plans. Examples:

        • Going swimming
        • Going to camp
        • Going on vacation
        • Playing sports
        • Eating ice cream
        • Making lemonade

ACTIVITY: Plan to be flexible during one part of your school day. Use Socrative’s Short Answer feature to have students give ideas of activities to do during that time, or use Multiple Choice Polling to have students vote on which pre-planned activity they want to do. Giving them a say in their schedule can help keep students positive and interested during the school day.

 

This time of year is ripe for teachers to reflect on their best, and maybe not so good, teaching practices, in order to make the coming year better than ever. This time is ideal because you still have your best critics at your fingertips: your students. Here are some ways you can get helpful feedback from your students using Socrative. In order to avoid unhelpful or silly answers, be sure to remind them that you want their honest (and anonymous) feedback to help you improve.

ACTIVITY: Give this Shared Quiz to gain valuable open-ended feedback from your students:

SOC-16604372 The questions included are:

1. Name 3 things that helped you learn this year.

2. Name 3 things that made it hard for you to learn this year.

3. What was the most challenging thing we did this year?

4. What was your favorite moment from our class?

Tip: Import a shared quiz in the Manage Quizzes section (Feel free to edit it!)

ACTIVITY: Ask for more specific feedback. If there is a unit you want to modify or shorten, use Socrative’s Multiple Choice feature to ask your class’ opinion. An example of this could be:

Which activity taught you the most (or least) about volcanoes:

    1. Creating a diagram
    2. Watching the news story
    3. Writing the report
    4. The reading and discussion activity

Here at Socrative we want to wish you a happy summer and say a big THANK YOU for using us in your classroom this year. We are constantly working to improve Socrative so keep checking our blog for updates on new features!

Teaching Summer School? Check back for our next blog post!

Socrative Snow is Live

Snowy Release – APR 2, 2015

 

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We made a number of changes to improve the Socrative experience.  As you know, we believe in formative, so keep us in the loop on how it’s performing and we’ll make updates and improvements.

Release Notes

– Interface color scheme updated to blue and white for improved projection and device display

– Manage Quizzes access moved to secondary navigation below header. Now accessible from every page!

– Space Race icons added – unicorn, spaceship

– Live Results Chart ImprovementsSort by Student Name
— Show Progress/Score
— Click on Question #s or Class Total %s for a detailed question view

– Change your interface display to 6 new languages: Chinese, Dutch, French, Korean, Portuguese or Spanish. Student interfaces will in turn be displayed in your preferred language.

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2 Activities for Observational Skills and Language Studies

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Pictures and Video offer us an unending supply of starting points from which to engage our language learners in class, the outside world and each other.  Students can jump off into non-scripted, free form conversation as they discuss the media itself or connections that it makes to their own lives. In the process of acquiring language, it can helpful to bridge the gap between what we see and what we can express through the written or spoken word. And let’s face it, they are fun to look at and expand our minds.

Empower Students and Have Fun!

Invite students to bring in videos and images that they make themselves and find on the internet. You’ll find they are even more engaged when it is their content.

Photos

Create a slide with different images.
Design a Quick Quiz with a question or more related to each image.

  • Ask Students to write a caption for the Image
  • Ask Open-Ended questions in various tenses. 
  • Ask Open-Ended questions that elicit target vocabulary.
  • Utilize MC questions to target specific misconceptions by including them as choices.
Use the Quick Quiz as an Entrance Ticket, in class Quiz or Exit Ticket.

 

Videos

Play a video clip and pause it at a specific moment.

Activate the Short Answer feature and ask a question.

  • Ask “What do you think the character will say next?” (future tense)
  • Ask “Write a two sentence summary of what’s happening.” (sentence creation, open-ended observation)
  • Ask “Describe the scene using at least 3 new adjectives.” (new vocabulary)
  • Ask ” What did the main character do?”  (past tense)

Have students read their answers out loud to practice pronunciation.

Discuss as a class

Have students vote on their favorites